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Association Management System: More Than Centralized Data

The fundamental reason for investing in an association management system is to centralize member data so that you may use that information to better communicate and serve, more effectively plan, and further the mission of your organization.

It is imperative that your association management system (AMS) has the ability to capture the many facets of information and, once collected, make that information available to you quickly, easily and in a meaningful way.

Fields within the system serve as future search criteria.  Therefore, an AMS that provides for the creation of fields throughout the system is the means by which you are able to access, segment, and analyze types of data.

Segment membership for communication and research

Within the system, demographic information is collected in various fields.  You may then use fields to segment membership in a variety of ways based on demographics to create mailing lists, target subsets of members for engagement, gauge interest in programs, etc., based on characteristics of the members.  For example, you may want to send out a communication for volunteers that would not be of interest to the general management.  Or, you may want to communicate with a subset of your membership to test enthusiasm for a proposed program.

You may also use fields to help sort types of constituents such as members, prospective members, suppliers, and board members, to help streamline communications and target announcements.

Flexibility to use fields throughout the system

While all association management systems make use of fields, it’s important to determine if you can utilize fields throughout the system.  Do you have the flexibility to have separate sets of fields for individual data, organizational data, products and events?

As you begin to rely on more and more analysis to help guide the direction of the association or the development of events or products, you’ll want to be able to slice and dice your data by these different elements for different views of the organization.

Collect information from the membership at different engagement points

Certainly, the member profile is the cornerstone of data collection.  But there are probably other areas where you’ll want to collect additional information.  One example would be event registration.  Is your AMS sophisticated enough to allow capture of additional information?  Can you capture T-shirt sizes, ideas for a dinner theme on closing night, products that attendees would like to have available at the event or online?  If you wanted to, could you segment event registrants by specialties, interests or preferences to facilitate such things as ‘birds of a feather’ discussions, task groups, or meal preferences?  Can you segment your registrants based on the date they joined the association to strategically match or seat veteran members with new members?

Knowledge is power.  With more data that you can collect and access, you can provide a better, more tailored member experience.  Your AMS should be able to make collection and access of data easy – without you having to labour over data collection and the creation of spreadsheets.

Expand access to information through directories

In addition to putting meaningful member data at your fingertips, you may want to make some of the data part of the member directory.  These directories may be visible only to internal staff, or you might share information with the membership at large to allow more collaboration, mentoring, or recruitment of volunteers.  It’s up to you.

We recommend Avectra netFORUM because it is a flexible AMS designed by former association managers specifically for association management. It allows you to have a variety of fields within multiple member entry points.  Data collection that is easy, thorough and readily available all adds up to a better member experience.

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